“Certitude is not the test of certainty. We have been cocksure of many things that were not so.”
- Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. -
“If I am a fool, it is, at least, a doubting one; and I envy no one the certainty of his self-approved wisdom.”
- George Byron -
Here’s a timely excerpt from a commencement speech given by Time editor Richard Stengel:
[T]here is what I think of in my world and I think in American politics on the left and right, there’s an epidemic of certainty—people who are absolutely sure that they know that they’re right. And I find this a little irksome.
And those of you who have studied science know that modern neuroscience tells you that certainty is a state of mind; it’s not an appraisal of the state of the world. It’s some temporal lobe stimulation, some synapses firing in your brain, that gives you that feeling of knowing that you’re right. It doesn’t necessarily correspond to the world. The brain creates that feeling of rightness, not the world itself.
(Hat Tip: Aaron Worthing, Patterico)